During an event that was described by its organizers as desiring to see “uncommon collaboration” and a “willingness to work together” to reach the nations for Christ, speaker and author Francis Chan was photographed embracing controversial teacher Todd White in prayer. In addition to Chan and White, the gathering featured speakers such as Benny Hinn, Bill Johnson, Lou Engle and Mike Bickle.
“A lover of God and devoted son. Francis Chan is an incredible man of God—loved his prayer over me at The Send,” White, who endorses the prosperity gospel and yoking with the Roman Catholic Church, wrote in sharing the photograph on Wednesday. “So many people with burning hearts for Jesus! Among them all are many years of prayer, fasting, and discipleship to see stadiums filled with people worshipping the King and being activated to live for Him!”
“The Send,” described on its website as a “collaborative gathering,” was an event meant to stir “every believer … into their evangelistic and missional calling.” The gathering, held at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida on Saturday, focused on urging those in attendance to take the gospel to the nations.
“What if the completion of the great commission depended on our action and willingness to work together?” the site for the event asks, also remarking on its “partner” page, “We believe the only way to see nation-wide impact is through uncommon collaboration.”
Participating churches and organizations included Bethel Redding and Bethel Music, Jesus Culture, International House of Prayer, TBN, Every Home for Christ, Youth With a Mission and First Baptist Church of Orlando.
In addition to speakers such as Chan, White, Hinn, Johnson, Engle and Bickle—among others, music was presented by artists such as Steffany Gretzinger and Jeremy Riddle of Bethel Music, and Lindy and the Circuit Riders of Youth With a Mission.
Chan told those gathered that they can’t expect to be sent to the ends of the earth if they are not faithful with reaching the lost in their own neighborhood.
“[God] says, I will entrust the person who is faithful in the smaller things to be faithful with the bigger things. And I meet too many people who will go to the ends of the earth, but won’t share the gospel with their next door neighbor,” he said.
“If we’re not faithful to set aside all the social media and all the movies and videos and everything else, and just come into the presence of God, and yet we think He’s going to entrust us to bigger things,” Chan declared. “I believe God’s message today is first be faithful in your neighborhood. Do the people on your block know what you believe, and that you love them? Have you warned them about who they’re going to face? Have you told them that they can have peace with God?”
“I want you to evaluate your life right now, because I so want to see God do huge things through you, but he’s not going to pick you unless you’re faithful with the small things—with the forgiveness, the relationships in the local church, with sharing the gospel in your local neighborhood, to getting the pornography—as Todd talked about—out of your life, getting the immorality out of your life, and the discipline of studying the word of God so you know what … you’re talking about.”
During one segment, White told those gathered that since Christ had forgiven their sin, the diseases of the body from one’s poor choices before salvation—and the physical marks of the past—cannot remain. He declared that—for those who had once engaged in cutting—God was going to make the scars on their arm disappear during the event.
“He removes blood disorders, He removes STDs and everything that came from a stain from a life that you wish you’d never lived,” White said. “Redemption means that God wants to [also] redeem your body. It’s for your spirit, soul and body.”
“Jesus forgave you. Therefore, if He forgave you, the mark and stain of sin must be removed now,” he asserted. “On the count of three, we’re going to yell Jesus, and I want you to look at the cuts on your arms and they’ll be history.”
White has raised concerns on a number of occasions, including in 2017 when he was featured in a video alongside Kenneth Copeland, in which he called the controversial prosperity preacher “one of the amazing fathers in the body of Christ,” “rock solid” and “a mentor in my life.”
“Did you know you had a heavenly account?” Copeland asked.
“I do now. All of our conversations—it’s overwhelming … just the revelation I’ve learned just by reading the blessing book, the law of prosperity. I’ve just been overtaken by the blessing that came through the Abrahamic covenant,” White replied.
“People call prosperity some kind of twisted doctrine, [but] God wants you to be in good health and wants you to prosper,” he also stated in an online sermon, although adding that Christians should be blessed financially so that they can give away much.
A form 990 accessible online shows that White received a total of $625,000 in compensation as president of Lifestyle Christianity in 2015.
Conversely, Chan has expressly spoken against the prosperity gospel, remarking in a video released by The Gospel Coalition entitled “What’s Wrong With the Prosperity Gospel,” “What’s awful about the prosperity gospel is it’s saying that your life will be completely different … from what Christ went through. You’re going to be healthy, you’re going to be wealthy, and people are going to love you. …. It goes against what Jesus preached and what Paul preached and what Peter preached.”
During the Azusa Now event in 2016, White, in joining hands with Edward Benioff, the director of evangelization for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, declared, “I believe the Catholic Church and the Christian church are going to come together.” White then had Benioff lead prayer at the event, who then stated to much cheering, “We need to fly united.”
In addition to messages about evangelism during Saturday’s event, others delivered prophecies or spoke of healings, and Hinn, who was accompanied by his son-in-law Michael Koulianos, had those present yell “fire” at the count of three, at which point some in the stadium fell backward.
While some have called the photograph “beautiful,” “awesome,” and a picture of “unity in love,” others expressed concern that Chan, a respected preacher and graduate of John MacArthur’s Master’s Seminary, was yoking with White and others at the event.
“This is extremely disheartening,” one commenter wrote. “I don’t understand why someone like Francis Chan feels the need to support men like Todd White. Todd White is extremely dangerous and is a threat to the true gospel of Christ.”
“This really stinks,” another opined. “Pray for Francis Chan. He recently praised Todd White (a prosperity teacher in the Kenneth Copeland mold) and embraces him as a brother. What is happening out there?”
In 2016, when asked why Chan chose to be a part of “Together 2016”, an event where the organizer had flown to Rome to meet with Jorge Bergoglio, known as the Roman Catholic pope “Francis,” and obtain his support for the effort, Chan’s office replied that the popular speaker and author “prays through the request before committing to the event” and “when he decides, he doesn’t look into many details surrounding the event, so knows very little of the event itself.”
It is not known if Chan still holds to the same practice. An inquiry to Chan’s assistant, Mercy Lin at Crazy Love Ministries, was not received.